HELSINKI, FINLAND — The long-awaited summer festival season is here. After years of lockdowns and social distancing, many are looking to let loose. Yet hot, crowded festivals can be ripe spaces for excessive alcohol use.
Karhu – a Finnish beer brand, part of the Carlsberg Group – is this summer providing festival goers with an easy and effortless way to monitor their alcohol consumption on the go. With a built-in lickable alcohol meter in the festival wristband, anyone can monitor their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at any time.
“Rather than having to bring in and carry around one of those clunky breathalyzers, this wristband normalizes the monitoring of alcohol use and encourages everyone to take part,” says Alexander Sneen, VP of marketing at Sinebrychoff, the Finnish beverage company behind Karhu. “The lickalyzer is already there on people’s wrists, so they might as well make use of it – for instance, while waiting for that next artist to take the stage. It’s a good indicator of when to have a glass of water in between or maybe opt for an alcohol-free beer.”
The prototype was successfully piloted at Solstice festival in Finland this June and there is now interest in extending its use to other festivals.
“Self-testing has become commonplace in the age of COVID. These festival wristbands make that same self-monitoring convenient and quick. We now track our sleeping and fitness, so why not our alcohol consumption too?” says Tommi Vaskivuo, chairman at Promilless, the company behind the new technology.
The Promilless’ new technology is backed by VTT, the Technical Research Center of Finland, and accurately detects from saliva samples various levels of BAC ranging from zero to 0.02% and 0.05%.
“More careful self-monitoring of alcohol consumption could potentially help festival goers have an even more enjoyable time out and about,” says Sneen. “We want to help our consumers pace their drinking, especially when it’s hot outside.”
The campaign is part of a broader shift from alcohol companies to target a new generation of drinkers who prefer alcohol-free and low-alcohol beers to heavy drinking. “Low-calorie, low-alcohol content drinks are our fastest growing market and speak to the ways in which consumers today want to experience drinking,” says Sneen. “These lickalyzer festival wristbands help everyone have fun.”